KARRA EXERCISE SEES ISLAND FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES BRUSH UP ON SKILLS
Island fire and emergency services are now more likely to be able to handle fire and storm emergencies following a recent major exercise.
The event was staged on Karragarra Island and involved a mock fire outbreak on the eastern end of the island with crews from all Bay Islands attending.
With more than 100 personnel involving the three arms of volunteer services - fire, SES and Coast guard - it was a pretty impressive exercise.
Helping to co-ordinate and advise was Queensland Fire and Rescue volunteer community educator, Melanie Olson.
She said the exercise involving all island crews and volunteer services was designed to improve co-ordination between the services and to improve communication and develop teamwork.
“This was a devised localised plan designed to test many elements of our joint operations.
“The logistics were formidable and there were several areas that were identified for testing.
“It was quite successful,” she told The Friendly Bay Islander.
Fire was chosen as the mock disaster for the exercise.
The bottom end of Karragarra was designated ‘ablaze’ and all groups and volunteers responded as per their training.
It was impressive to see the latest in equipment not only just on display, but in actual use.
One exciting piece of equipment was a new Ground Monitor that is designed to send huge concentrated volumes of water in an arc to an eventual source.
It would be ideal for island house fires where volunteer fire fighters are not allowed to enter premises, but could direct large water flows without entering a property.
Because island fire services are now contained in one group, it means that First Response is now possible with the joining of the three island volunteer brigades into one unit.
They are now better equipped and trained as a fire fighting force saving money, duplication, the ability to stand alone and providing improved teamwork.
It also means the islands do not now have to wait until a more senior unit is transported from the mainland to the islanders to act as first responders.
All of it was on display at the recent Karragarra exercise.
• An island crew handling the Ground Monitor spray with Melanie Olson.